Twiplomacy is the first-ever global study of world leaders on Twitter. I do recall at a Le Web conference 2010 in Paris that Matthias Luefkens of the World Economic Forum did a short intervention on the same subject. And again at a TEDx conference.
(I see Matthias mentions them in his Twitter profile. Turns out he is a lead author in the project). But Twipolomacy turns out to be a more comprehensive survey that Matthias's presentation above..
The governments of almost two-thirds of the 193 UN member countries have a presence on Twitter: 45% of the 264 accounts analysed are personal accounts of heads of state and government, but just 30 world leaders tweet themselves and very few on a regular basis.
"This study shows that while the social network invites direct interaction between users, few world leaders take advantage of this opportunity to develop connections. Almost half of world leader accounts analysed don’t follow any of their peers. A quarter of world leaders and governments follow President Barack Obama and the White House, but @BarackObama and the @WhiteHouse have established mutual Twitter relations with only three other world leaders: Norway’s Jens Stoltenberg, the UK Prime Minister and Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev."
The Dutch government doesn't use Twitter for a conversation but rather as a broadcast PR tool. It's well down at the bottom of the league table, despite relatively high usage of Twitter by the Dutch.
Caretaker Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has an institutional account also maintained by the Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst, the government information service. The account has well over 100,000 followers including the @EU_Commission, Herman van Rompuy @euHvR, Portuguese President @prCavacoSilva, but is not following anyone, not even the Dutch Royal family @KHtweets. By ignoring his peers the Dutch Premier is cutting himself out of the conversation on Twitter. According to the account’s description, “every message will be read but not (instantly) responded to. For questions to the PM, go to our website”. Although the account has never sent a single @reply, Mark Rutte does answer the most asked questions in a weekly video. The tweets sent by the Prime Minister’s office are mainly official announcements about upcoming press conferences, his daily schedule and government decisions.
The report said "Medvedev is one of the most connected world leaders," noting that he subscribes to Twitter messages from seven other heads of state or government, who in turn subscribe to, or "follow," him on Twitter. By comparison, U.S. President Barack Obama follows only two other world leaders, Medvedev and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.
The Most Popular Tweeting Leaders
World leaders’ Twitter followers as of Thursday afternoon
U.S. President Barack Obama
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
The U.S. White House
Jordanian Queen Rania
Turkish President Abdullah Gül
British Prime Minister David Cameron
Mexican President Felipe Calderon
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos
The Russian president’s executive office
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Burson-Marsteller collected and analyzed the material for its report earlier this month.
Medvedev also is one of the most popular government chiefs on Twitter, a publicly available Web service in which users send comments and Web links in messages called "tweets" consisting of 140 characters or less.
As of Thursday, Medvedev had more than 1.3 million followers, making him one of a dozen governmental leaders or their offices with more than a million followers. Displaying similar popularity on Twitter are the presidents of Argentina and Brazil and the prime minister of Turkey. Obama is No. 1, with more than 17 million followers. As president, Medvedev in June 2010 set up the Russian government's first Twitter account. He did so while at Twitter's headquarters in San Francisco, a milestone that happened during his Silicon Valley tour and complemented his modernization push.
In contrast to his political protege, Putin has only about 51,000 followers for his account, @PutinRF, which his staff launched in January as his presidential campaign picked up speed and protests by Web-savvy